Talks aimed at averting a series of strikes by London Underground workers from next week have broken down and the industrial action will go ahead as planned, union leaders said today.
The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said LU had failed to remove the threat of cuts to safety and safe staffing levels which would have allowed “meaningful discussions” to take place.
Thousands of Tube staff are due to launch the walkouts from next Monday evening, September 6, in protest at plans to cut 800 jobs, threatening travel chaos in the capital.
The RMT accused LU management of “sabotaging” talks today at the conciliation service Acas with officials from the union, and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “LU management knew very well that meaningful talks could not proceed while the threat of cuts to safety and safe staffing levels hung over our members’ heads – their failure to remove that threat sabotaged any prospect of making progress.
“RMT and TSSA negotiators completely demolished the LU line that the cuts are simply about new technology and the Oyster card. The planned cuts are part of a multi-billion black hole facing the Mayor due to the costs of the failure of Tube privatisation and an attack on funding levels from the ConDem Government.
“Not only are ticket offices and ticket staff jobs threatened but hundreds of other station staff posts are also on the line. It was the presence of those very staff that averted potential disaster in recent incidents involving fires at Euston and Oxford Circus.
“RMT and TSSA have been presented with a stark choice. We could sit back and wait for a major disaster while safety cuts are bulldozed through, turning the Tube into a death trap, or we can stand up and fight for passenger and staff safety.
“On Monday we will be making a stand on safety and safe staffing levels on behalf of all Londoners.”